Nun’s sister joins stir

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Nation, Current Affairs

Indefinite hunger strike till justice gets delivered.

Women's rights activist Sister Jesme greets the nuns staging protest at High Court Junction in Kochi on Monday seeking the arrest of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal accused of raping a nun. (Photo: ARUN CHANDRABOSE)

Kochi: As the strike by the nuns of Kuravilangad convent against the delay in the arrest of rape-accused bishop Franco Mulakkal entered the tenth day, the survivor nun's sister began an indefinite hunger strike at the Vanchi Square near High Court on Monday. She reached the spot around 11 a.m. and briefly addressed the audience and started the protest. “I will not stop the strike until my sister gets justice. The bishop has to be arrested with no further delay,” she said. They believed in the current investigation, but it was painful that the Church remains sil-ent even after so much has happened, she said.

Hundreds of people, including writer and activist P. Geetha, sister Anupama’s father K.M. Varghese, social, cultural and political leaders, visited the spot and joined the protest.

Those who spoke at the venue included advocate A.P Unnikri-shnan, writer and activist Nafeesath Beevi, Jancy Mathew from Kaduthuruthy block panchayat, secretary of people’s legal welfare forum, advocate Rekha, and human rights activist T.K. Abdul Azeez.

The students from the Government Law Coll-ege, Ernakulam, offered legal support for the protest. Members of Sree Narayana Sahoda-ra Dharmavedi also joined it. The organisers said that they were getting support from many organisations and receiving calls from everywhere.

Bishop may seek advance bail

Rape-accused Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, who will reach the state on Wednesday, is likely to move the High Court seeking anticipatory bail. However, the police said they did not know of any such move by the bishop.

According to a statement released by the diocese of Jalandhar, the bishop had written a letter to Pope Francis asking him to temporarily relieve him of his responsibilities of the diocese. He has denied the rape charges raised by the survivor nun in the letter. It is also learnt that the diocese has not received any response from the Vatican.

The police confirmed that the bishop will appear before the probe team for interrogation on Wednesday itself. “It is not officially announced or confirmed yet. But he will be coming on September 19,” said a senior police official.

Meanwhile, the agitation by the nuns near the High Court junction in Ernakulam demanding the arrest of the bishop entered the 10th day on Monday.

The victim nun of Kuravilangad had alleged in her complaint given to the police that the bishop had sexually abused her at  Kuravilangadu in May 2014, when he came to attend a function and raped her 13 times over the next two years.